Hollywood Walk of Fame: Stars at Our Feet

Bugs Bunny’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1960, construction began on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here are a few things you may not know about the famous sidewalks.

There are dueling accounts as to who had the original idea for the walk of fame. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce says it was E.M. Smart, who was the president of the association in 1953. Other sources claim it was Harry Sugarman, who was president of the Hollywood Improvement Association. Regardless of whose idea it was, the plan was formalized and submitted to the Los Angeles City Council in 1955. Prototypes for the plaques originally included caricatures of the honoree in a blue star on a brown background. The caricatures were too expensive and difficult to make; the color scheme was also changed because it clashed with a building that a prominent real estate developer was building on Hollywood Boulevard.

The final design of a coral-colored star on a charcoal background was approved in March 1956. A committee was then chosen to select the original honorees from four branches of the entertainment industry: film, television, audio recording and radio. Ultimately more than 1,500 honorees were selected in the initial group. The first completed star on the walk of fame was that of film director Stanley Kramer. Joanne Woodward is frequently cited as the first recipient, however, she was merely the first to pose with her star for the press. The initial project was completed in 1961. Eight years passed before another star was added — one for film producer Richard Zanuck. Charlie Chaplin, who was selected and then excluded from the original group, was added in 1972.

In 1984, a category for live theater was added.

There are several people with multiple stars on the walk of fame, including Gene Autry, who is the only person with stars in all five categories. There are two Harrison Fords honored— one a silent-movie actor, the other best known as Han Solo and Indiana Jones — and two Michael Jacksons — one a radio talk show host in L.A., the other the King of Pop. There are 12 stars bearing single-word names, including Liberace, Rosanne, Shakira and Sting. Sixteen fictional characters, all of them, with the exception of The Munchkins from the “Wizard of Oz,” are either animated or puppets. The most recent fictional character inducted was Snoopy. The only fictional villain represented is Godzilla.

About 20 honorees are selected each year from an average of 200 nominations. Living recipients must agree to attend a ceremony within five years of selection. The nominating organization, usually a fan club, studio, or record label, must also pay a $30,000 fee.

The most recent recipient is actor David Duchovny, who was honored for his accomplishments in television on January 25, 2016.

Our question: Which family has the most stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

Today is the Lunar New Year, Boy Scouts Day, Oatmeal Monday and Opera Day. It’s the birthday of Union general William Tecumseh Sherman, actress Lana Turner and TV journalist Ted Koppel.

On this date in 1960, the top song in the U.S. was “Running Bear” by Johnny Preston — the No. 1 movie was “Visit to a Small Planet,” while “Hawaii” by James Michener topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.


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